One year on, the road to recovery continues for flood-affected children in Pakistan
UNICEF and partners continue to provide life-saving support after last year’s floods, but more is needed to build resilient systems, reduce vulnerability and protect children against climate disasters.
One year ago, catastrophic floods upended the lives of millions of children in Pakistan. One-third of the country was underwater, affecting 33 million people, half of whom were children. Over 1,700 lives were lost, including 600 children. The scale of the devastation was unlike anything experienced before. More than 2.2 million houses were damaged or destroyed and 8 million people displaced.
Many of the hardest-hit districts were amongst the most vulnerable in Pakistan, where children already suffered from high malnutrition, poor access to water, sanitation and education, and multiple deprivations. The floods further reduced access to essential services for children, damaging or destroying 30,000 schools, 2,000 health facilities, 4,300 water supply systems and vital infrastructure.
Since day one, UNICEF has been providing life-saving assistance to children and families affected by this climate-induced emergency, restoring access to health, nutrition, water, education and protection services to the most vulnerable communities.
Over the past year, children and families have shown immense strength, courage and resilience as they rebuild and strive to recover. Yet millions of children continue to need critical support and risk being forgotten.
Voices of Children
"Last year, flood water destroyed my home and school. Me and my goat Rani are afraid because it is raining, and our village might get flooded again."
"The best part about school is learning something new every day. Now I can read Sindhi, English and Urdu while earlier I could just speak Sindhi."
UNICEF’s Flood Response
The Challenges Ahead
The road to recovery continues for millions of children and families but significant risks remain. An economic crisis, increased food prices and record inflation nearing 40 per cent has gripped Pakistan in recent months, hitting the poorest children and families hardest.
This season’s monsoon rains are worsening already challenging conditions in flood-affected areas, displacing communities, damaging homes and vital infrastructure.
UNICEF estimates there are still 8 million people, around half of whom are children, that continue to live without access to safe water in flood-affected areas. Over 1.5 million children require lifesaving nutrition interventions in flood-affected districts. Low-birth-weight babies continue to be born to mothers who themselves are malnourished. Poverty has increased after the floods, further perpetuating the cycle of intergenerational poverty and worsening outcomes.
Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and destructive. All too often, it is children who pay the heaviest price. Pakistan is a known climate hot spot, repeatedly suffering from floods, heatwaves and droughts that directly threaten families and livelihoods. It is only a matter of time before another large-scale climate disaster strikes.
Greater investment is needed for long-term recovery that builds back climate-resilient systems that bridge equity gaps and reduce vulnerability to climate shocks.
UNICEF’s current appeal of US$173.5 million to provide life-saving support remains only 57 per cent funded.
UNICEF is grateful to the following donors for the much-needed resources to support early response and recovery efforts: Australia, Denmark, the European Union, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, the Republic of Korea, Norway, Romania, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), UNHCR, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), Global Partnership for Education (GPE), UNICEF National Committees (Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Norway, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, United States) and private sector partners Telenor, Unilever, Ernst & Young, Rangoonwala Trust, ZeShan Foundation, DP World, Flexport, Maersk and Bitsmedia Holdings.